When Hollywood tries tackling a subculture on the big screen, more often than not things get blown a bit out of proportion and a new stereotype is born for all to aspire to.. or not aspire to. There have been many attempts at giving surfing the red carpet treatment over the years and thankfully, we have been left with some amazing characters that in one way or another have influenced our own surfing lives. Let us present our all time favourite Hollywood attempts at capturing ‘the surfer’
5. Lance B. Johnson – Apocalypse Now
Yep, that’s right, surfing is part of a little known subplot in arguably the greatest war epic of all time. Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Lance B. Johnson is a famous Californian surfer before the war where he is assigned to the mission of killing Kurtz. Lance spends most of the mission on a drug binge (typical surfer right?). He is also shown sun-tanning and waterskiing behind the boat at different times. Shown as somewhat careless and naive, Lance is important to the film as he is the only one besides Willard (Martin Sheen) to survive the mission, suggesting that his attitude towards conflict and war (acid) is possibly something to aspire to. Maybe in the 70’s Lance.
4. Bodhi – Point break
If you don’t love Point break then you have no business being here. Go on, go away. Bodhi was awesome. Hands down. In fact, if he hadn’t of done all that criminal stuff and charged that damn 50 year storm he could of stuck around and picked up a Red Bull sponsorship. He was the perfect metaphor for where surfing was heading at the time that the film was made. High energy, thrill seeking and performance focused. I was cut up when Swayze died because it ruled out any possibility of a sequel. The ending scene probably did that for everybody else, but part of me likes to think that Bodhi made that wave, and did paddle to New Zealand.
3. Leroy “The Masochist” Smith – Big Wednesday
“I like fights, I’ve dove through windows, I’ve eaten light bulbs, I like sharks, any kind of blood. If you gave me a gun, I’d shoot you in the face just to see what it looked like when the bullet hit.” There is no denying that Garry Busey is bonkers. Not Mark Matthews bonkers, but completely bat-shit crazy bonkers. Which is why this role is one of his best. While anybody whose nickname requires a thesaurus isn’t usually that intense, Leroy is just that. In fact, he fakes insanity to avoid being drafted into the Army. All that aside, he charges hard and stands up for his best mates. Man I love this movie. Mainly because of Busey.
2. Jeff Spicoli – Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Need I say more? This filmed help define a generation and the way said generation viewed surfers. If Bodhi is at one end of the spectrum, Spicoli is holding up the other. This weed smoking, wave chasing, slacker gave us countless laughs and pretty much set a stereotype in stone. He was everything that is both great and wrong about surf culture and that’s why Sean Penn was so damn loveable in this role. After all, aren’t we all still just after “some tasty waves and a cool buzz”? Maybe Spicoli, maybe.
1. Jimmy Slade – Baywatch
Because when has any countdown of surfers (real or not) ever not included him. Dude banged Pamela Anderson. That’s 1st round draft pick for life. Long live Slade.